June 21 (UPI) -- The Defense Department has awarded General Dynamics a contract for upgrades on the Stryker armored combat vehicle.
The deal, from U.S. Army Contracting Command and announced on Wednesday, is valued at more than $68.5 million and enables General Dynamics to upgrade the flat bottom under bellies of the vehicle to the double V-hull configuration, according to the Defense Department.
The double V-hull configuration is preferred by the U.S. military as it provides better protection for vehicles that encounter improvised explosive devices or land mines.
The Stryker V-hull design configuration was prompted by the surging death toll of U.S. and coalition forces during the Iraq War.
The solution was to replace mobile units using Humvees with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles made by the Oshkosh Corporation. The V-shaped hull increases both crew and vehicle survivability by deflecting the explosive blast away from the vehicle.
Work on the contract will occur in Sterling Heights, Mich., and is expected to be complete in March 2020.
The total cumulative value of the contract will be obligated to General Dynamics at time of award from Army fiscal 2017 procurement of weapons and tracked combat vehicles funds, the Pentagon said.